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The troubled state of teacher evaluation is a glaring and largely neglected problem in public education, one with consequences that extend far beyond the current debate over performance pay. Because teacher evaluations are at the center of the educational enterprise—the quality of teaching in the nation's classrooms—they are a potentially powerful lever of teacher and school improvement. But that potential is being squandered throughout public education, an enterprise that spends $400 billion annually on salaries and benefits.
The task of building better evaluation systems is as difficult as it is important. Many hurdles stand in the way of rating teachers fairly on the basis of their students' achievement, the solution favored by many education experts today. And it's increasingly clear that it's not enough merely to create moredefensible systems for rewarding or removing teachers. Teacher evaluations pay much larger dividends when they also play a role in improving teaching.
This article explores the causes and consequences of the crisis in teacher evaluation. And it examines a number of national, state, and local evaluation systems that point to a way out of the evaluation morass. Together, they demonstrate that it's possible to evaluate teachers in much more productive ways than most public schools do today. …
Read more from the article "Avoiding a Rush to Judgment: Teacher Evaluation and Teacher Quality."